D. Martinez/ SFVS

Gilbert Berriozabel at his election party Tuesday evening said despite losing the election for San Fernando city council, he will continue to stay involved in the community.

M. Terry / SFVS

(right) Joel Fajardo

The residents of San Fernando are not making any changes to the City Council.

They gave incumbents Joel Fajardo and Robert Gonzales another four-year term on the council in the city primary election Tuesday, March 7.

Gonzales, the city’s Mayor, received 575 votes while Fajardo, the Vice Mayor, was the top vote-getter with 642 votes. They easily bested the other four candidates in the field; David Govea was third with 233 votes, followed by Jason Hayes with 186 votes, Marvin Perez with 127 votes, and Gilbert Berriozabal with 119 votes.

“I’m really honored the residents have elected me to a second term,” Fajardo said. “I’m committed to delivering great results,” in particular improving the aging infrastructure, and implementing a better parking permit system.

Gonzales was also “excited” by getting a second term. “I can’t wait to continue to work on my projects like finding more opportunities to honor military veterans and expanding the “Healthy San Fernando campaign, combining it with Los Angeles.” Gonzales said he and Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson have discussed co-sponsoring a dual open-street event where streets leading from LA to San Fernando would be closed.

“The city council here has passed it and having had [preliminary] meetings with Herb Wesson, it looks  promising they will join.”

But Fajardo and Gonzales said their victories were proof San Fernando residents liked their future vision for the city.

“[The election] demonstrates that people are satisfied with the direction the city is headed. And residents want to see us continue making progress,” Fajardo said.

“The feedback I got from the community is they are happy the way the city has progressed the last couple of years,” adds Gonzales. “I think the community really thought we’re doing a good job.”

Berriozabal’s Fourth Loss

Berriozabal ran as an independent. This election was his fourth attempt to win a council seat and he’s lost all four times. On Tuesday he came in last. But instead of being discouraged, he said that he feels “proud” of his effort and for those who supported him. 

Referencing the endorsements and financial backing other candidates received in this local election, Berriozabal made a comparison. “I don’t owe anything to anyone.” 

When the San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol asked Berriozabal if he would run again, he said he would need to “think about it and consider it.” 

Hayes and Perez were endorsed by Residents for a Better San Fernando, a controversial group that was born out of the recall election in 2012. Key members of Residents for a Better San Fernando are personally tied to the recalled council members. Hayes and Perez are new to San Fernando politics and so far have echoed the positions espoused by Residents for Better San Fernando.

Govea was new to the city’s politics although he claims his family has “spent four generations” in the City of San Fernando. 

Fajardo had received a number of impressive endorsements including one from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Both he and Gonzales were endorsed by the San Fernando Police Officers Association (POA).

SFPD officer Saul Garibay, president of the POA, said the decision to endorse Fajardo and Gonzales was not a difficult one.

“We based our endorsement on their history of support for public safety and the work they’ve done to stabilize the budget of city,” Garibay said. “We weren’t approached by any other candidates to be endorsed. We were open to anyone who wanted to sit down and to chat about their position. Both Gonzales and Fajardo approached us very early on; we sat and listened.”

SFPD officer Sgt. Irwin Rosenberg, who attended Gonzales’ election watch party on Tuesday, said the voters sent out a clear message.

“It says the community believes financial stability and public safety are critical issues and they have been satisfied with the direction both members have gone in,” Rosenberg said.

Phantom Endorsement

Gonzales, along with Govea, received the endorsement of a phantom group calling itself “Taxpayers for a Better San Fernando, Supporting Robert Gonzales and David Govea for San Fernando City Council, 2017.”

Gonzales said he had “no idea” who was part of the organization, and added he had received no donations from them for his campaign.

Certification of the election results by the Registrar Recorder/County Clerk is tentatively scheduled for March 31. Depending how the canvass progresses, there is a possibility that results could be finalized and the election could be certified earlier that week.

 The County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to declare the election results final on April 4. The San Fernando City Council could declare the results sooner, again, depending on when it receives certification documents by Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan.

In other election news, Margaret Solis, running unopposed, was elected city treasurer with 746 votes.

Measure SF, which now makes the treasurer an appointed position rather than an elected one, passed with 659 votes in favor to 423 votes opposed.